For immediate release
June 19, 2019
Treaty One Territory, Winnipeg, MB – Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) is supporting two Dene First Nations from Northern Manitoba in their attempts to finalize their land claim agreement with Canada. The Northlands Denesuline First Nation and Sayisi Dene First Nation are concerned about recent developments on the Ghotelnene K’odtineh Dene Final Agreement.
The two Nations first went to court in 1993. Since then, they have been working towards the recognition of their Treaty and Aboriginal rights to land, harvesting, and resource management in their traditional territories in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
After years of negotiations, the First Nations received a commitment from the Honourable Carolyn Bennett to conclude the land claim agreement on a nation-to-nation basis. As late as May 31, 2019, Canada maintained that the Ghotelnene K’odtineh Dene Final Agreement would be initialed and proceed to community ratification before this year’s federal election.
“MKO supports our First Nations in their attempts to finalize land claim agreements that have been drawn out for more than two decades,” stated Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “In the spirit of reconciliation, we urge the Government of Canada to meet with the leaders from these Dene Nations to work towards finalizing the land claim as soon as possible. These Nations deserve a clear, definitive timeline on when they can finally ratify the land claim agreement.”
The Chiefs of Northlands Denesuline First Nation and Sayisi Dene First Nation are in Ottawa today to voice their disappointment in the stalling of their agreement. Grand Chief Settee is joining the Chiefs in support of their attempts to finalize their land claim.
An image from Northlands Denesuline First Nation, June 2019: